Friday, October 11, 2013

Truth, freedom and mission

It was Simon Heffer who started it. In a recent lecture on City ethics he asserted ‘It should once more become unthinkable to tell a lie in business’. Well, duh, when did it become thinkable?
It was Psalm 62 that continued it, the poet bemoaning assault by liars, attack by those speaking untruthfully about him. 

And it was a member of my congregation who sealed it: ‘as a result of your sermon, I went into the office and told people who’d been telling tales and being economical with the truth that it had to stop, we had to honestly sort out our differences and move on.’  

At the heart of this is the fact that all truth is God’s truth (as Christian philosopher, Arthur Holmes once said) and we’re called to be witnesses to the truth, pure and simple. It means honest speech in our hearts and on our lips. But it also means calling untruth what it is, however unpopular. We cannot know the truth unless we recognise its opposites. 

Mission is defending the truth that the stranger should be welcomed, the weak should be supported, the poor should be defended. These no-brainer, biblical statements are not self-evident to so many of our neighbours. 

And witness to the truth must lead to actions. We set up foodbanks to meet an emergency lack of food faced by half a million of our immediate neighbours. But we also ask why a system allows it to happen and what a better one would look like. And then we put our resources to work making that system a little bit more of a reality than it is, creating opportunity for the poor to feed themselves, the workless to find employment, and the struggling to find strength in helping others face their problems. 

If the mind is to be engaged in mission, it must start with our minds. We must be single-eyed in our search for the truth about life, the economy, politics, philosophy, violence, justice and equality. For that will lead us to the one who embodies the truth, namely Jesus.
And as we find it, we need to live it in our churches and draw others into its orbit so that with open eyes they too find the truth sets them free
So like Simon Heffer, we need to be stating the biblically, blindingly obvious because our neighbours need to be set free.

‘Mission of the Mind’ is the theme of Catalyst Live, a day of engaging speakers from the worlds of apologetics, theology, science and culture, organised by BMS World Mission. To book tickets for Manchester (27 November) or Reading (28 November) go to

My fellow bloggers, Simon Woodman, Richard Littledale, David Bunce and Catriona Gordon have also blogged on this theme this week. their contributions are on the Catalyst Live web site (here). Enjoy and join the discussion...

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